November 3, 2013
Re "Cancellation blues," Editorial, Nov. 1 Obamacare is not a cure-all. But it is a step toward single-payer, which is better than what we have. However, the editorial doesn't acknowledge how much the canceled policies are a problem for folks in my boat. I pay $637 a month for a family of four. Surgery and other costs this year, after a whopping $8,500 deductible, still cost less than we would be paying under the new law. Anthem Blue Cross canceled my current plan and offered a substitute with similar coverage for $1,365 a month.
October 31, 2013 |
The weirdest thing about the ongoing conniption about the cancellation of people's health insurance plans -- supposedly as a result of Obamacare -- is the notion that these are plans people liked, even loved. When did that happen? It wasn't so long ago -- months, even weeks -- when the health insurance companies were being roundly cursed for their ruthless mistreatment of individual health plan customers. Constant rate hikes. Cancellations after policyholders got sick. Endless hoops to jump through to file a claim or appeal a rejection.
October 31, 2013 |
Wendell Morris stopped recently at a Rite Aid drugstore in Santa Monica to get a flu shot. A worker at the pharmacy said Morris' insurer, Anthem Blue Cross, didn't cover flu shots. So Morris paid about $30 out of pocket for the vaccination. He later saw the column I wrote last week about how drugstores may be misleading people about flu-shot coverage. He called Anthem to ask whether his insurance covered the vaccine. It did. Morris, 48, returned to Rite Aid and showed them my column.
October 30, 2013 |
Deborah Cavallaro is a hard-working real estate agent in the Westchester suburb of Los Angeles who has been featured prominently on a round of news shows lately, talking about how badly Obamacare is going to cost her when her existing plan gets canceled and she has to find a replacement. She says she's angry at President Obama for having promised that people who like their health plans could keep them, when hers is getting canceled for not meeting Obamacare's standards. "Please explain to me," she told Maria Bartiromo on CNBC Wednesday, "how my plan is a 'substandard' plan when ... I'd be paying more for the exchange plans than I am currently paying by a wide margin.
October 24, 2013 |
You really should get a flu shot. But if you get one at a drugstore, you might find yourself wondering whether they're playing fast and loose with people's insurance coverage so the company can score some extra cash. Paul Rubenstein, 39, has faced such a possibility for two years. The Mar Vista resident is insured by Anthem Blue Cross. His wife is insured by Health Net. Last year, they went to a local CVS store for flu shots. The pharmacy worker ran both their insurance cards through the computer and said that neither insurer was covering vaccinations.
October 23, 2013 |
Insurance giant WellPoint Inc., a key player in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, said it remains optimistic about the healthcare expansion despite the rocky start of a federal insurance exchange. WellPoint's chief executive, Joseph Swedish, and other industry executives are meeting Wednesday with White House officials about continuing problems with the 36-state federal insurance marketplace and its troubled healthcare.gov website. Many consumers have been unable to log in and get basic information about their insurance options since enrollment began Oct. 1. The nation's second-largest health insurer also released third-quarter results Wednesday.
October 17, 2013 |
There is perhaps no better metaphor for the painful relationship between patients and our for-profit healthcare system than the fact that Anthem Blue Cross thinks you don't need anesthesia for a colonoscopy. It's not "medically necessary," the insurer says. Anyone who has experienced this most invasive of medical procedures might think otherwise. I spoke the other day with a fellow named Michael, who works locally in the TV industry but didn't want me using his full name because he's terrified that Anthem will retaliate by messing with his coverage (and it says a lot about our system that this is even a consideration)
October 1, 2013 |
For all the fuss over Obamacare -- the president's plan to extend health coverage to about 30 million Americans -- Southern California health providers were fielding only a smattering of questions on Tuesday, the first day of enrollment. Supporters of the President's healthcare program are hoping for a big response from the uninsured in California, hoping it could help quiet the reform effort's many critics and persuade other states to embrace the reforms. Officials at Covered California, the agency overseeing the state's health insurance exchange, have a goal of signing up more than 2 million people through next year, the most of any state.
August 30, 2013 |
Californians can now see specific rates from competing health plans on a new state-run insurance market set to open Oct. 1. Covered California, the new state marketplace, launched an online feature Thursday enabling consumers to get detailed price comparisons for their area for the first time. Previously, the state's online calculator gave general estimates of statewide premiums without any comparison of different plans and prices. Story gallery: Healthcare law comes to California Starting in January, health insurance premiums will be based on a person's age and location.
August 12, 2013 |
Jennifer Frankenberg recently learned that she had been approved to receive much-needed health insurance from Anthem Blue Cross. She also learned that she'd been denied coverage because of preexisting conditions. All in the same day. On one level, this is a fairly routine story of corporate incompetence. But it's also a stark illustration of what's currently wrong with our healthcare system and some of the ways that the healthcare reform law, for all its imperfections, addresses these problems.